The Constitutional Convention
The Constitutional Convention The debate at the Constitutional Convention was quite intense and involved some different issues and arguments. Much of the debate centered around states’ representation in what would become the Federal Government. Here we will address two of them: the debate over proportional representation that was eventually settled with “The Great Compromise” and the debate over whether slaves should count towards a state’s population.
The first one was primarily a debate between small and large states. The Virginia plan, as proposed by James Madison, originally had the Congress’s composition determined by the size of a state’s population. The larger the state, the more representatives they got to send to Congress. They argued this would be the fairest and reflective of the population. Smaller states, such as New Jersey submitted their plan aptly called, “The New Jersey Plan.” This plan distributed the same number of representatives to each state. They argued it would protect them from being crushed by larger, more populous states. As it turns out, this debate raged for weeks and weeks and was not settled until the Connecticut Compromise, also called The Great Compromise. This agreement modified the Virginia plan. Originally the plan called for a bicameral legislature where the lower house would elect members of the upper house. The Great Compromise instead made the composition of the lower ho…
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